5 Vikings heading into a make-or-break season in 2022

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /

Irv Smith Jr. – tight end

A second round of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2019 NFL Draft, Irv Smith Jr. has yet to be able to showcase his talents on a regular basis. So far, he has been dealt a bad hand in each of his seasons wearing purple and gold, but 2022 could be his last chance to prove he’s worth an extension.

Smith sat behind Kyle Rudolph for his first two seasons in Minnesota. During that time, he only averaged 2.3 receptions per game with an average of 23.3 yards per game. he missed three games in 2020 but still managed to gain 676 yards during his 29 games played.

A solid blocker and good route runner, Smith is set to become a free agent following the 2022 season. His backup Tyler Conklin played well in his absence and his efforts could prompt the team to give him an extension.

Smith’s biggest need this season is to stay healthy and be productive. He doesn’t need a monstrous season statistically to earn a contract extension, all he needs to do is show he can be available when the team needs him.